Life can be overwhelming at times. Have you ever been so overwhelmed with responsibility that you felt as if you were drowning? No matter what you did to try to stay above the waves, all you could do was barely keep your head above water?
That was me this past week. I can usually handle a day of it, but each day I felt as if I were sinking lower beneath the waves. No matter how hard I worked, I could never catch up. The days passed and the further behind I got, the more desperate I felt.
overwhelm: bury or drown beneath a huge mass; defeat completely; give too much of a thing; inundate
That’s how I felt: drowning beneath the waves, buried beneath a huge mass, inundated with too much. I felt defeated. I felt incompetent. I felt inadequate. Honestly, I felt like giving up.
In my morning quiet time, I began crying out to God for help, much like King David did.
“Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy” (Psalm 61:1-3, NKJV).
As I sought the Lord, He began to reveal some things to me. I went back to last Monday morning when all of this started and read what I had written in my journal as I prayed and listened to God:
“I am changing you from the inside out. I will be faithful to complete what I started. I will use your weaknesses to make you more effective for me. The sin in you that repels me, I am purifying from you little by little, refining you and making you pure and spotless. But I love and cherish you right now. Don’t ever doubt that.”
You see, God was telling me ahead of time that the testing would come. And He was assuring me of His love in the midst of it. Yet, I went about my business as usual, unaware that God was allowing the frustrations, the setbacks, the stumbling blocks to come. I should have sought Him more, but instead I turned to my usual sources of comfort.
In the midst of these days I was irritable, complaining, negative. At the end of these long, frustrating days, I would come home, mentally and emotionally exhausted, and seek comfort in food and television. And God allowed the pain to continue until I realized what I was doing: comforting myself apart from the Comforter.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3, NIV).
The Lord wanted to purify some things from me: complaining, negativity, laziness, and idol-worship. Yes, because I made that food and TV my idols when I comforted myself with them. The more I failed my tests, the more miserable I became. God continued to allow disruptions and problems until I laid it all at His feet and confessed it. And then the peace came.
God is so good to me–so much better than I deserve. He wants me to come up higher with Him, so He brings me higher by giving me a reason to strive higher. When my heart is overwhelmed and I feel as if I am drowning, there’s only one way out:
Climb up to the Rock.
David said, “Lead me to the rock that is higher than I” because David knew he could do nothing on his own to fix his problem. He needed the Lord, his refuge, his strong tower. So do we.
I don’t know what you may be going through today, but know this: God loves you and He will see you through it, but only as You trust in Him to do so. He will allow times of testing to grow us and purify us. As we seek Him for strength and comfort, He will lift us up and set us on the Rock.
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and hear my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand” (Psalm 40:1-2, NIV).
I could have chosen to speak life into my situation, but I didn’t. I could have come home and spent some time at His feet, allowing Him to comfort me, but I didn’t.
I didn’t pass my tests, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be taking them again. I’ve learned some lessons, though. I want to keep coming up higher with Jesus. Moment by moment, day by day, His love encourages me to keep striving for the Rock.